17 March 2006

the coup - "my favorite mutiny" (from the pick a bigger weapon lp, released april 25, available for preorder here.)
mystery jets - "purple prose" (from the making dens lp, import available for purchase here.)

socialism never made the big time here in america. jay lovestone told stalin it was down to american exceptionalism; engels himself proffered a number of factors that made the bourgeois condition appear to americans as the "beau idéal."

few bands know this better than the coup. admittedly, naming a record steal this album didn't help, esp. as most young people had never heard of abbie hoffman, nor did kicking off a song w/ the opening couplet : "presto! / read the communist manifesto." but, jesus (yes, yes, opiate), did the coup deserve better.

thirteen years after kill my landlord, the group is signed to epitaph and they've brought along a couple of famous friends--or at least rappers popular w/ the liberal-arts crowd, black thought and talib kweli. they've also incorporated a sung chorus: no, it's not an r&b chorus; this is pure soul, and one would expect nothing less from this most soulful of rap acts. but even if it were, would you begrudge them? revolutionaries need to eat, too, and in "my favorite mutiny" they've produced a record as sumptuous as past offerings like "dig it," "bigga fish," and "me & jesus the pimp."

there's nothing necessarily revolutionary about the mystery jets, but there is a sense of community : like 60's rockers spirit, one of the group's dads is also in the band. the mystery jets do share w/ the coup the spirit of the late 60's, but more w/ singing about astrological signs and, possibly, about the walrus than w/ campus unrest.

they're free here of that baneful late 60's influence, prog-rock; "purple prose" is a bit of a fist-pumper, though taken at a slower tempo than "alas agnes." spindly guitar lines slowly gather strength until they give way to a chorus so strident that its question, "oh, cairo, where did you go?" sounds more like a demand. the mystery jets continue to impress, not the least b/c they give the listener a sense of having covered great expanses w/o leaving a seated position.

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